It’s a new year, which means we will constantly hear “new year, new you,” and we will be inundated with diet commercials and all the ways we can meet those resolutions. The gyms are packed; people are determined to look great by summer. And then it becomes difficult. Slowly the gym becomes less crowded and people fall back into old routines. It happens to the best of us.
There is no doubt that since March of 2020 life has been hard. We are slowly emerging from the pandemic, but for some of us, it will take a lot of time and effort to get back to our prepandemic selves. Getting back in shape or back to a healthier version of ourselves is tough enough after enjoying the holidays, but after nearly three years of constant change and stress, getting back into shape is even more of a challenge. I have made excuse after excuse. The stress of teaching during the pandemic made me gain weight (and drink more wine). Menopause made me gain weight. I’m too tired to workout. I’m older, so I can’t maintain my weight. I’ve used every excuse I can conjure up. I talked to a friend this week who said she has been blaming her weight gain on her health issues, and then made a major change to her diet, and discovered that she is the problem. As we were talking, I realized that I am the problem. Of course, menopause is a contributing factor; I simply cannot eat what I could ten years ago. Or five years ago. Age is also a factor as my metabolism seems to be coming to a screeching halt. I did eat more during the pandemic because it was the only fun thing we could do. But none of those account for my lack of effort when it comes to working out.
About a year ago, my husband and I put in a home gym. It’s beautiful and I love the space. We purchased Nordic Track equipment and have the iFit workouts at our fingertips. While I have continued to workout and love iFit, I have also chosen the easier workouts. Rather than running on the treadmill, which is guaranteed to make me sweat and burn calories, I will use the bike and watch Netflix. While that’s certainly better than sitting on the couch, it isn’t what my body needs. I know that running helps me maintain my weight better than any other exercise.
Since August of 2020, I have gained about 15-18 pounds. That might not seem terrible, but I am five feet tall, so 15 pounds equals two sizes. I am uncomfortable, which makes me grouchy. There are plenty of fitness experts who say to ignore the scale; we are more than a number. That is true for a lot of people, but that number directly correlates with how I feel physically and how I feel about myself. Will I ever get back to that August 2020 weight? Doubtful. But I can do better.
My daughter talked me into signing up for the Indy 500 Mini Marathon (13.1 miles) that takes place in May. I haven’t run a half marathon since 2019, so I am hopeful that having a goal will give me the incentive to run. This morning I ran four miles — a slow four miles. I have written out my long-run training plan for the next four months, and am making a better effort to stop choosing “easy.” For several years I did whatever it took to get a run in, whether that meant running while a kid was at practice, getting up super early, or running during my lunch. Now it seems I do whatever I can to get out of a run. If it means taking an extra shower, I’m out!
I will do better with working out. I will continue to struggle with nutrition. I hate vegetables. There are a few that I can eat: spinach, corn (it counts!), and peas. Other than that, I gag when trying vegetables, and for nearly 56 years, I have been told that I just need to fix them differently. Not true. I cannot eat them. Instead of forcing myself to consume something I can’t stand, I am making small changes like drinking more water, cutting way back on junk food, and not eating just because I’m sitting down and feel like I need something.
I am also going to blog more. Perhaps if I put it in writing and hold myself more accountable, that will make a difference. I belong to a couple of fitness/nutrition groups on Facebook, but there are some mean assholes in those groups, and so many people think that they have all the answers. Our bodies are all different, and what works for me might not work for anyone else. I’m finding those groups no longer inspire me to be better; they really just make me angry.
I don’t make resolutions; I set goals. My goals for 2023 include running – not walking – the Indy Mini, writing more, finishing an afghan I started for my grandson a couple years ago, and feeling confident in my skin. What are your goals?